The influence of acclimatization, age and gender-related differences on thermal perception in university buildings: case studies in Scotland and England

Mina Jowkar, Hom Bahadur Rijal, James Brusey, Azadeh Montazami, Alenka Temeljotov-Salaj

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Citations (Scopus)
315 Downloads (Pure)


The higher education sector in the UK is responsible for large amount of the country's energy consumption. Space heating, which is the largest and most expensive part of the energy used in the UK educational buildings is a potential target for improving energy efficiency. However, the role of thermal comfort in students' productivity in academic environments cannot be overlooked. Considering the prevalence of two different climatic conditions in Northern and Southern/Midland regions of the UK, this study investigated thermal comfort in two university campuses in Scotland and England. environmental measurements combined with a simultaneous questionnaire survey were conducted in eight university buildings in Edinburgh and Coventry. The field study was carried out during the academic year of 2017-18 on 3507 students. The results confirmed influence of students' acclimatization, showing a warmer than neutral mean Thermal Sensation Vote (TSV) and cooler thermal preference in Edinburgh than Coventry. The higher acceptable temperature in Coventry (23.5 °C) than Edinburgh (22.1 °C) reinforced the results on the influence of climatic adaptation. Thermal acceptability was examined in a direct (analysing the actual votes on thermal acceptability) and an indirect approach (considering the TSV between −1 and 1 as acceptable). The indirect approach was shown to be a better predictor of the thermal acceptability as this method extends beyond the acceptable range suggested by the direct method. Thermal perceptions of females were shown to be colder than males in university classrooms. However, no statistically significant difference was observed in the thermal comfort of different age groups.
Original languageEnglish
Article number106933
JournalBuilding and Environment
Early online date8 May 2020
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jul 2020

Bibliographical note

NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Building and Environment. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Building and Environment, 179, (2020)
DOI: 10.1016/j.buildenv.2020.106933

© 2020, Elsevier. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International


  • Thermal comfort
  • Higher learning environments
  • Thermal acceptability
  • Comfort temperature
  • Thermal satisfaction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Building and Construction
  • Civil and Structural Engineering


Dive into the research topics of 'The influence of acclimatization, age and gender-related differences on thermal perception in university buildings: case studies in Scotland and England'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this